He is currently editor-in-chief of the WMN and its sister title in Plymouth, the Evening Herald.
Alan was appointed editor-in-chief on the retirement of editor Barrie Williams in July.
His editorship at the Evening Herald is being taken over by Bill Martin, who is currently deputy editor there.
Bill is 38 and is married with two children.
His career with Northcliffe began in 1989 before moving in 1993 to Norwich and then London, where he worked as a freelance journalist.
He returned to Northcliffe in 1997 as news editor of the Plymouth Evening Herald and was promoted to deputy editor in 2001.
Bill said: “This appointment is a huge honour and a great challenge for me.
“The Evening Herald prides itself on being the Voice of Plymouth, and being at the heart of the community. This is a very exciting time in Plymouth’s history and I’m looking forward to championing the city and all the people who live and work here.”
Both appointments are effective from today.